Sebastian police: "Elks Lodge former treasurer gambled $102,000 of group's money"

Andrew Simso is under investigation by police

SEBASTIAN, Fla. - A member of the Elks Lodge #2714 in Sebastian used the group's money to gamble at adult arcades, according to the Sebastian Police Department.

Andrew Simso, the former treasurer of the Elks Lodge, is under investigation. Steve Marcinik, Public Information Officer for the Sebastian Police, said the lodge had lost approximately $102,000 total.

"Monies have been switched around, moved around, unaccounted for," said Marcinik. An unidentified female at the Elks Lodge office said, when asked about the investigation, that the group had no comment at this time.

Simso defended his actions, when NewsChannel 5 went to his house seeking answers. "I'm a grown man," said Simso. "I accept responsibility."

Simso hopes a refinance of his mortgage will come through next week, so he can pay back the rest of the balance.

"The lodge doesn't need the negative publicity," said Simso. "I am upset that this is getting out."

He said the lodge will not file charges against him if he returns everything, but NewsChannel 5 was not able to confirm that with the lodge. Police said Simso already returned $48,000.

Assistant State Attorney Lev Evans says if a criminal case like this came to the state attorney's office, it would be their final decision, and not the victim's, to move forward with charges.

"A thief repays his victim does not mean a crime did not occur to start with," said Evans. "We look to prosecute, regardless of whether the victim wishes to prosecute or not."

Police have not yet made an arrest, but Marcinik said even if all the money is returned, future charges could come. Those charges could be for fraud, or grand theft, he said.

"There is no deal, there's no understanding like that," said Marcinik, when asked if the lodge would not pursue any action against Simso. "It's still very much an investigation."

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